The National, Friday July 10th, 2015
THE majority of the people from the nine tribes of Baimuru District in Gulf Province will not accept Caution Bay near Port Moresby as a site selected for a Papua LNG plant.
The joint venture partners (Total SA, Oil Search and InterOil Ltd) in the country’s second LNG Project may have already announced the location of their Central Processing Facility and the Gulf LNG Plant site, but the majority of the people of the nine tribes of Baimuru LLG do not agree with selection of the plant site.
Why select Caution Bay and for whose benefits was Caution Bay selected?
The people from villages within Caution Bay have already benefitted in terms of business spin off and now they are well ahead because of activities related to first LNG Project.
The people of Baimuru District cannot be overlooked. We must be given every opportunity to get maximum benefits through business spin off and related sub contractual activities and services.
We will not accept the decisions of the joint venture partners of the second LNG Project until areas from Baimuru to Bluff Point near Kerema and stretches near Iokea can be studied and activities related to Gulf LNG plant operations can be technically, environmentally and cost effectively assessed and studies communicated to the people of Baimuru and Gulf Provincial Government openly and transparently. If these studies and surveys done are deemed unacceptable and do not meet the minimum standards of the LNG Plant Operations, we will then negotiate.
That is called a fair considerations and stakeholder participation with the joint venture partners in resources development. Failure to do so, the people of Baimuru District might not allow the project to progress.
Baimuru District and its people cannot be spectators in their own land and the use of their resources. We have missed out big time on first LNG Project despite its land boundaries and seas been used for an offshore pipeline by Exxon Mobil.
We agree that the Central Processing Facility will be built at a site near Purari River in Baimuru District but we do not accept Caution Bay near Port Moresby as a selected site for second Gulf LNG Plant site.
The site chosen may be technically sound and cost effective for the benefit of Papua New Guinea people but it cannot come at the expense of the people of Baimuru and Gulf
If the sites were selected for their technical, economic and environmental benefits and followed extensive surveys and studies by Total SA over the past year, when were these studies and surveys communicated with Baimuru LLG Administration, Gulf Provincial Government, its national MPs and the local landowner leaders as interested parties?
The bottom line is that people of Baimuru District and Gulf Province have suffered and have been neglected over many years and we are way behind the rest of the nation in many developments.
Gulf LNG Project two is our opportunity to get maximum benefit out of our land and its resources to make a little bit of change in our living standards so this generation and the next can be proud of developmental decisions that we are making today.
We cannot accept all developments directed and geared into areas near Port Moresby. That will be the denial of progress and development for the people of Baimuru District and Gulf Province. We must see developments that have taken place in Port Moresby take place also in Baimuru, Ihu, Kikori, Kerema and the Gulf Province.
Port Moresby is 20 times ahead in terms of development. So we cannot continually develop Port Moresby at the expense of resources owners. We must develop Baimuru, Kerema and Gulf Province become a little bit like Port Moresby from the benefits in use of our land and resources. That will be a benefit to all our people.
I hope our leaders are thinking big and out of the box.